Getting my Unicorn: Boston Marathon Recap!

What a weekend! If you had asked me a couple weeks ago if I’d run Boston again if I re-qualified, I’m quite sure I’d have said probably not. After all, I’m a one and done kind of racer. But that all changed!! Boston completely surpassed my expectations. I’m pretty sure now, if I qualify, I’m running!

BAA 5K
Boston Expo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathyrn Swisher
Bart Yasso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-marathon highlights:
1) Ran the BAA 5K…totally fun. I ran a little fast for an easy run, but I’m so glad I did it.
2) Went to the Expo and got my bib!!
3) Went to the Generation UCAN tribute to Meb. What an amazing athlete!
4) Shakeout run with Molly Huddle (and all my SWFL running friends).
5) Photo with Katherine Swisher. And look… it’s Bart Yasso…another photo!

Generation UCAN Tribute to Meb
And lots of UCAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Monday…My gear:
On my feet: Wright socks and Newton Distance IV running shoes
Fuel: Generation UCAN Cranberry Raspberry
Electrolytes: SaltStick caps

Major Ah ha moments: No matter how many articles you read and how many videos you watch, there will still be surprises.

Athletes Village

1) Athletes Village…I really didn’t have a mental picture of what this would look like. But if I had to describe…I think a beach on a busy weekend, only instead of sand, there’s grass.
2) Security…There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Boston race route is the safest place to be on Patriots Day.
3) Hills….OK I knew it, I saw the elevation profile, but so much emphasis is on the Newton Hills….People, what about the rest of the course! It’s rolls for 26.2 miles…
4) Spectators….OMG this was amazing!! The spirit along the course was absolutely magical! And not just the cheers and signs (which is pretty much what everyone focuses on)…sliced oranges, Popsicle, ice…the generosity of the spectators was just phenomenal!!
5) Sun…OK a downer, but the late start means if it is sunny, the sun is high and on you the whole race. For a Florida girl who runs before the sun to beat the heat, that was killer!

What went well:
1) My nutrition and electrolytes: I won’t lie, it was hot and the beating sun took its toll out on me, but despite that I really do think I hit it right with my race nutrition. Had it not been for the stupid hotspot (later), I know I could have finished super strong. I drank a UCAN shake prior to the race, and made two gels. I took one gel at mile 11, and the second at mile 19. I also took a salt tab every 3 miles.
2) Hills: I am so happy about how well I handled the hills. I trained using Hanson’s Running Boston specific training plan, which had me on hills 1 to 2 times per week, and it worked!! In fact, the next day I talked to several runners at the metro and they all complained of calve pain. Me none!! Ok maybe a little but nothing to write home about.
3) My pacing: I am super happy with my pacing. I didn’t get caught up in the race energy, I raced smart. I have to say between my nutrition and my training I felt strong to the end.

What didn’t go so well:
1) Hotspot: I think it was because so much of the race was downhill and there was just no way to train for sustained downhill running here in flatlandville, but I did notice my foot was slipping in my shoe during the race. I suspect heal lock lacing could have solved this.

That’s me in the purple (yellow shoes) heading to the finish line.

How’d I do? Well I’m happy to report I BQ’d by just over 4 minutes! It wasn’t the time I trained for, but it was the time I ran…and I’m very happy with it. Lot’s of lessons learned this year. As long as the Boston cuttoff doesn’t go crazy high and knock me out of the running, I look forward to being back in 2018.

Looking back…Thoughts on my training:
1) I am really happy with the results of my training. Hanson’s Method is pretty different from many other training plans. The most significant difference being that their plans do not have you running more than 16 miles on the long runs. Instead they spread out the total weekly distance with longer speed and tempo segments during the week. The goal is to train the legs to run on fatigued legs. I will mention the Hanson’s also tell you that no one run should be more than 30% of your weekly mileage, so if you want to run more than 16 miles in a long run, you should first add distance to your easy runs during the week. I did that so I could increase one of my long runs to 18 miles.
2) I had great support throughout my training segment. Starting with my amazing hubby who took a lot of domestic duty pressure off me so I could focus on running, to my awesome Wannarun friends who ran hills because it was on my plan, finished fast because it was on my plan, and at times ran longer distances than they had planned because…yep, it was on my plan. Then there was my canine running partner Otis who logged a lot of trail runs with me. He was a real trooper and made our runs fun. All pretty important as I logged 123 training runs, 868 miles, and 144 hours training for Boston.
3) I learned the only junk miles are miles run with no purpose. This was a huge ah ha revelation for me, and it took me reading up on running physiology to really understand how easy paced runs were building mitochondria and endurance, how tempo runs and strength runs were developing anaerobic threshold, and how speed runs were developing aerobic capacity. Once I figured out how each training run fit into the overall training picture it was much easier for me to take them seriously and run them at the right pace or intensity.

My boys at the end of the marathon.

Weekend highlight: Spending it with my boys. That was incredibly special!!

So that’s it…I feel blessed; I am blessed. I didn’t meet my race goal but I did race well and for that I am very happy and very proud. I have another BQ and memories to last a lifetime…or at least until next year. Life is good!!

 

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